For a high-quality video experience, please read through some of our suggestions for bandwidth usage, equipment, and lighting.
You probably already know that you need an Internet connection to use ooVoo, but did you know that not all broadband is created equal? Even on the same connection, your bandwidth (the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time) may vary based on factors such as the amount of traffic on the network, the number of people using your Internet connection, and whether you are downloading or streaming other content.
Below are 3 measurements of your connection speed that will influence your video quality.
- Download: This is the amount of bandwidth you have coming to your computer from the Internet. Think of this as how wide the road is coming to your house. The more downstream bandwidth you have, the wider the road, and the more traffic you can accept.
You should have a minimum of 180 Kbps download bandwidth for a one-on-one video call. For each additional member of your call, you need an additional 130 Kbps (i.e. for a 6 way call you need 700 Kbps).
To view High Resolution video, you need a minimum of 310 Kbps download speed. To view HD video, you need a minimum of 435 Kbps. If you have more available bandwidth, ooVoo will automatically increase the video quality for the best possible user experience.
- Upload: This is the amount of bandwidth you have going from your computer to the Internet. Think of this as how wide the road is going from your house. The more upload bandwidth you have, the wider the road, and the more traffic you can send.
You should have a minimum of 180 kbps upload bandwidth. To send your video in High Resolution, you need a 384 Kbps upload speed. To send HD video, you need 435 Kbps. The upstream requirements remain the same regardless of the amount of call participants. If you have more available bandwidth, ooVoo will automatically increase the video quality for the best possible user experience.
- Latency (delay): This is the amount of time it takes for the traffic you send to reach its destination. To use the previous analogy, even if you have a wide road going to and from your house, if your car is moving slowly on the road, it will take a lot longer to get where you are going. If you notice it is taking a long time for your friend to respond, or that you are talking over each other, this is probably being caused by high latency.
Your latency should be below 250 MS. Latency problems are often caused by network congestion. If you experience problems, try ending the video conversation and starting it again.
Click here to test your internet speed and quality. Java is required to run this operation.
- Click your location on the map and then click the USA: Dulles, Virginia test center.
- Click YES to allow Java to run.
- On the right side of the page, under Choose a Test Type, click Speed then Start Test.
- The test results will present your upload and download speed. All indicators should be green. Yellow or Red Consistency of Service means your Internet bandwidth is not stable and can result in video call problems.
- Next, under Choose a Test Type, click Quality then Start Test.
- When the test is finished, click the SUMMARY tab. Yellow or Red Consistency of Service means your Internet bandwidth is not stable and can result in video call problems.
- We suggest contacting your Internet provider if you have consistent video call problems indicated by Red lights. Tell them that low quality of service is having an impact on your video calls. Most Internet bandwidth services will fluctuate in peak usage times, and this is normal. If you are consistently experiencing poor video performance, the best measure is to upgrade your service.
To reduce bandwidth usage:
There are several ways to improve your call quality by reducing the amount of bandwidth used during a video call:
- If you are already in a video call, you can change the video resolution to Standard or Low Resolution. Everyone on the call should perform this action. You can also alter your resolution prior to making your call from ooVoo >Settings >General >Audio & Video >Video Quality. Please note that lowering your resolution will reduce the sharpness of your video.
- During the call, click the camera icon to turn off the video camera from the call window. Your friend's video will be replaced by their profile photo. This will significantly reduce bandwidth usage.
- Do not send your video in High Resolution or HD; this uses two to three times the amount of required bandwidth.
- Screen-sharing can also use more bandwidth. Share your screen only when necessary and for as short a time as possible.
- Try to send documents before or after the call. Sending large documents during a call will use upload bandwidth, which is generally the source of most problems.
- Do not run any large programs while on a video call; close any unnecessary programs.
What kind of equipment do you need for the best video calls?
Webcam: While a webcam is not required to run ooVoo, your friends will not be able to see you during your conversation if you don't have a webcam. If you want to send high resolution video, you need a webcam that supports 640x480 resolution. If you want to send in HD, you need an HD webcam.
Headset: ooVoo uses echo cancellation software to improve the sound quality of your conversation, but the built-in speakers and microphone on your computer may still cause some echo. We therefore recommend using a headset (headphones with a microphone) for the best audio quality. Tip: If you have a microphone built into your computer or laptop, just plug in a set of regular headphones to eliminate echo.
Computer: You may notice problems with the video if you are on an older computer, or if you have multiple programs running at one time. A computer with a dual core processor is required to send High Resolution and HD video. Tip: Close all unnecessary applications during your call. If you are using a laptop, make sure it is plugged into a power outlet.
Because cameras are less sensitive to light than the human eye, it is important to have good lighting when you are using ooVoo. If your video looks dim, grainy, or washed out, try adjusting the location and brightness of your lighting. Here are some common problems caused by lighting with suggestions to fix them:
Dim video: There may not be enough light in your room. Try turning on more lights, or move to an area where there is more light.
The room is bright but your image is dim: This could be caused by having a bright light source behind you. The camera adjusts its sensitivity to the background instead of you. Try positioning yourself so that the light source is in front of you.
Grainy video: While this could be caused by a low-quality camera, it can also be caused or made worse by not having enough light. Cameras often adjust their sensitivity to compensate for a lack of light, which creates more grain or "noise" in the image. Try turning on another light or sitting closer to the light source.
Your video looks choppy: This can be caused by not having enough light in your room, but it can also be caused by not having enough bandwidth. Try turning on more lights. If you still have the problem, read the section above called Bandwidth.
Your image looks washed-out: This is usually caused by a light that is too intense (Example: having a light shine directly at your face). Try dimming the light, or reflecting the light off of a light-colored surface, like a white piece of paper on your desk.